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you feel what the tissues feel like. a lot of the inputs the chairman and the cats -- indicates. i have teenagers at home. robotics. there are robotic classes. this is to some extent the future. given the expense of the redundancy necessary in a manned program and our need to get the most training and research and engineering experience and knowledge for the dollars we spend that nasa, isn't it time to say -- to deliver the bang for the box -- the buck.
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the basic science knowledge. testimony point out that we need to know these things. there are other societal benefits. isn't that really the way we should think of going? if dark basic expansion of knowledge through a government funded entity like nasa -- is that the way we should go? my personal feeling is there is a tremendous value over time that has come close from demand i do believe robotics will be on the time scale of the next 20 years as -- or so. probably as they make predictions, which is always hard. it will have more economic impact on how we were driving our cars and fly our planes and how research is being performed. it is my belief if you go through 30 or more years, that prediction will be a lot tougher to make.
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want to put the human in the loop and go to places where you do not know where you are going, and two exploration the help of sun cover aspects of our experience and did all aspects of technology that will have tremendous impact. even though they examples you mention are compelling, there are many aspects that come from a human side of nasa as well. i would not subscribe to that kind of recommendation. >> lower the emphasis a bit.
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>> making a distinction between science and exploration, nasa is more than just a science agency, it is an exploration agency, a tool of u.s. farm policy. just looking at sites as defined in the service, it is realistic for. the reason why you do human in part is for exploring the unknown, but putting people in an unusual or alien situation. you learn things you would not learn if he stayed at home. there is a wonderful example looking at someone -- and viruses and how they become changed in space. this means there is a gene sequencing issue. if we can figure out how to control but, we could have a potential vaccine for salmonella. that is not the thing that would emerge into a ground based laboratory. it emerges might put people in a very different environment to go into the unknown.
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human space flight is probably the most interdisciplinary scientific and technical activity this country can engage in. much broader than biotech and any other fields. you have all fields come together to pull off a successful mission. it is incredibly hard. i would say as part of your portfolio of activities, that humans have to be part of it. they do represent the challenging interdisciplinary problem that is unique. it's to be part of our national portfolio because nothing replaces the symbolism, the emotion, the connection that makes -- to our partners around the world. the international space station is not only an engineering triumph but a diplomatic triumph that has paid great benefits to this country already in terms of building relationships around the world.
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what national interests do you want it to serve. >> thank you very much. >> i have a feeling general sega wants to add something. >> thank you. the question itself poses one of the key points of our study. the national consensus determining the strategic goals and objectives is important. from that would flow the balanced integration of exploration science technology and aeronautics. congressman walker talked about it before.
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i wanted to clarify one of the options. we did not go into detail on whether that was an option or how to do it. >> thank you very much. the gentleman has yield back. i want to thank everyone for your time and preparation and travel. to all the staff here that make this world go. i would like to ask unanimous consent that as we close today, we close in memory of the life of gabriel gifford and remember the death of neil armstrong for a moment of silence. amen.
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we are closed. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> on capitol hill negotiations on the so-called fiscal cliff continues this weekend as congress is scheduled to return tomorrow. here is what senate majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell had to say yesterday from the senate floor after their meeting with president obama. >> i talked to the republican leader bob this is generally -- about this generally. we had a constructive meeting. i hope something positive will come from that. the republican leader and i and our staffs are working to see what we can come up with.
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but it should not take a long time to do that. but it would be in everyone's interest if we were in session tomorrow. we have another vote that has been set up >> you were talking about sunday, right? >> yes. we're going to have another caucus a following that, and hopefully by that time we will have made a determination, senator mcconnell and i, and we can do something on the floor in addition to what i talked about. we do need that time to have everybody kind of step back a little bit. if we come up with something, it
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is not that easy. we're dealing with big numbers. i think it was a very positive meeting. there was not a lot of clarity in the meeting. everyone knows how important it is. -- hilarity in the meeting. everyone knows how important it is. >> i share the view of the majority leader. we had a good meeting at the white house. we are engaged in discussions, the majority leader and myself and the white house in the hopes that we can come forward as early as sunday and have a recommendation that i can make to my conference and the majority leader can make to his conference. will working hard to try to see if we can get there in the next 24 hours. i am hopeful and optimistic. >> i will do everything i can. i am confident senator mcconnell will do the same. whenever we come up with is
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going to be imperfect. i feel confident that we have an obligation to do the best we can. that was made very clear in the white house. >> some of the action on the senate floor yesterday. today president obama and republican senator roy blunt of missouri delivered their weekly addresses on the so far icalled fiscal cliff. >> hi, everybody feare. it is a balanced plan, one that would protect the middle class, cut spending in a responsible way, and ask the wealthiest americans to pay a little more. i will keep working with anybody
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who is serious about getting a comprehensive plan like this done. it is the right thing to do for our economic growth. but we are now at the point where in a couple of days, the losses of every american's paycheck will get a lot smaller. -- the law assays that every american's paycheck will get a little smaller. but congress can prevent it from happening, if they act now. we may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time. but if an agreement is not reached on time, then i will urge the senate to hold an upward bound to vote on a basic package that protects the middle class from an income tax hike, extends vital unemployment insurance for americans looking for a job, and lays the groundwork for future progress.
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such a proposal could pass both houses with bipartisan majorities, as long as these leaders allow to come to a vote. if they still want to vote no, that is their prerogative. but they should let everybody else vote as well. that is the way this is supposed to work. we cannot afford a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy. the economy is growing. the folks you sent to washington have to do their jobs. the housing market is healing, but that could stall if folks are seeing smaller paychecks. unemployment rate is lowest it has been in 2008, but already families and businesses are starting to hold back because of the disfunction they see in washington. you meet your deadlines. you meet your responsibilities every single day. the folks you sent here to serve should do the same thing. we cannot let washington politics get in the way of america's progress. we've got to do what it takes to protect the middle class,
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protected economy, and move the country forward. thanks, everybody. >> i am senator roy blunt from missouri. as we bring 2012 to a close, leaders in washington have an opportunity to kick off the new year by working together to solve some of the big challenges facing our country today. at a time when our federal debts top a record $16 trillion, , the senate majority leaders refuse to bring an appropriation bills to the floor this entire year. when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. that is exactly what they have been doing. meanwhile, small businesses and farm families do not know how to deal with the tax of the president and congressional leaders have threatened to expand to even more family farms and small businesses. more american energy means more american jobs. unfortunately, energy
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projects are being held back by federal obstacles of all kinds. republicans hope to work across the aisle to solve these and other critical challenges facing america in the new year. dividing government is a good time to solve our problems. in the next few days, leaders in washington have an important responsibility to work together and do just that. unless congress and the president act immediately, every american will be forced to pay for the largest tax hike in our nation's history on january 1. at the same time, the federal government, including our armed forces and defense workers, will undergo deep, across the board budgetary cuts. these are the cuts that president obama promised during the campaign would never take effect. well we need to reduce spending,
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we can do it in a much smarter, more targeted way. going over the so-called fiscal cliff will lead to devastating job losses, at a time when american families and small business owners are still struggling to get back on their feet. in contrast, the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates extending tax rates afro-americans would create nearly 1.8 million jobs and increase the nation -- rates for americans would create nearly 1.8 million jobs. congress's action to make the first tax bracket and% instead of 50% -- the child tax credit -- 10% instead of a 15% raised the child tax credit.
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there is still time to act. both president obama and senator harry reid claim that an achievable plan is one that can pass both houses of congress. republicans agree. the republican controlled house has taken a step in the right direction. the house has already passed bills to protect all americans from burdensome tax increases. in addition, the pass legislation to replace a damaging, across-the-board spending cuts with responsible, targeted ones, and to bring our nation's record debt under control. but instead of working across the aisle and considering the house passed a plan to protect taxpayers, senate democrats spent months throwing partisan lines -- dry partisan lines in the sand. the president pulls a proposal to raise taxes on the top 2.2% of americans will not pay one- third of the interest owed on this massive $16 trillion debt. the tax hike would only fund the government for eight days.
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americans deserve to know, what does the president propose we do for the other 357 days of the year? inaction should not be an option. the problems facing our country are big. they're not necessarily all that complicated. the president will never have more political capital that he does right now. the next few days will begin to define his second term. he was elected to lead. we can still avoid going over the fiscal cliff if the president and the democrat- controlled senate step forward this week to solve this problem. >> we also talked to washington post reporter lori montgomery for an update on the fiscal cliff negotiations. >> what kind of a deal did the president offer, and what is new in the negotiations among the
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senators and between the senators and the white house? >> it does not appear to be anything new. the policies they're talking about are the same policies that have been on the table for weeks and weeks. what is new is that they seem to have finally agreed they're going to move forward with something. there is no guarantee that the republican leader and the democratic leader will be able to put together an agreement. at least they are now saying they will try to do it. they're working together and aiming towards a vote either late sunday or monday. >> what is the scuttlebutt among the rank-and-file senators about whether or not they're going to be able to pull this off before the end of the weekend? >> it happened so late, and it was really difficult -- i do not believe anyone has been briefed. there is an absolute lack of information among the people who are actually going to have to vote on this. house members are not in
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washington right now. there will not be in until sunday evening. senators are here, but they are not in session today. the leaders wanted a day of peace to pull this together. people are going to start to get briefed tomorrow afternoon. >> both majority leader harry reid and minority leader mcconnell, both expressed optimism after the meeting with the president. what is the basis of their optimism, and is this a sign that we might be one step, two steps closer to a deal? >> it does appear that we are a step closer to a deal. what they're talking about doing is extraordinarily popular stuff, except for a big marquee item, which is letting taxes rise on the wealthy. however you define that. the rest of the stuff they're looking at doing is stuff they do all the time.
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extending expiring tax policies that benefit businesses, extend college tuition credits, protecting people from the alternative minimum tax, which they do every year. it is all very urgent stuff that needs to be done. there are only two even remotely controversial parts of this, what to do with the estate tax, and how to define the wealthy people whose taxes are going to go up. the rest of it is basically protecting people from tax hikes, extending unemployment benefits is sometimes controversial for a republicans, but it appears to have agreed they would do that if they can reach an agreement on the tax stuff. it should be relatively easy if they can reach an agreement about what to do about taxes for the rich. >> in your article this morning, you quote majority leader reid,
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who said, whatever we come up with is going to be imperfect. we're going to do the best we can for the country. it seems like he has made his decision, and he is moving forward with this. what is going to take to do it the rest of the folks to go along with him. get the rest of the folks to go along with him? >> i guess we will not know until tomorrow. they expect to not be able to turn off the sequester. the obama administration has some ability to blunt the effect of those cuts, but there are lots of people in the republican party especially to are very upset with the cuts that would hit the pentagon. it may be difficult to rally
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republican votes if they cannot turn off the sequester. on the democratic side, the estate tax could be a problem. the republicans are insisting that the estate tax stay at current levels, which is exempt states up to $5 million. many democrats would like to see -- in january, it is scheduled to come -- it is scheduled to go up dramatically. on states as small as a million dollars would be taxed. most democrats want to see something in the middle. they're adamant that we cannot exempt states as large as $5 million. that could be another sticking point. >> lori montgomery, to expect anything else to go on today? when is the earliest that the senators will come back in for session tomorrow?
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>> the senate is due back in at 1:00. the house is due at 6:30. the house is the big question mark. it is very difficult to imagine what could pass the house. as for today, it is an excellent question. the senate is not in, the house is not in. my understanding is we're going to have basically everyone working quietly to see if we can reach an agreement. it will be interesting to see if they give us any information today. >> lori montgomery of the "washington post," also fiscal policy reporter there. thank you very much for being on the program. >> thank you for having me. > >> both chambers of congress and tomorrow.
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votes in the senate scheduled at 2:00 p.m. eastern. live coverage on c-span2. the house returns at 2:00 p.m. eastern, votes possible as 6:30. david dreier says they are planning to possibly have a rules committee hearing on sunday afternoon. for more on the fiscal cliff, here is some of the conversation from today's "washington journal." >> joseph rosenberg is a research associate with the tax policy center and joins us to talk about who is affected if the fiscal cliff comes to fruition. to go along with that, one of the articles in this morning's "wall street journal" had the headline, payroll tax likely. the idea of extending the tax breaks has dropped out of your-
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and negotiations between the white house and congress. $500 billion in combined tax increases and spending cuts set to begin next week. if we go over the cliff, the payroll tax will be affected. >> thanks for having me. the payroll tax is one of the components of the fiscal cliff. as the article points out, most of the discussions back-and- forth have not involved extending that. what that means is that come the first paycheck in january, federal withholding for social security will increase in take- home pay will drop >. >> for what you have seen and heard of the negotiations, on what other items are you most concerned about regarding how
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going over the cliff is going to affect the average american? >> most of the discussion thus far has focused on the individual income tax provisions that for the most part have been in effect for the past 10 years or so. one aspect of the fiscal cliff is not actually about 2013 taxes, but is still left over business from 2012. most importantly, that is congress has not yet enacted its annual fixed to the alternative minimum tax for this year, yet. if no action is taken, a lot of people probably have not even heard of the alternative minimum tax, a tax that normally
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affects 4 million taxpayers would insnare more than 30 million taxpayers. and really complicate the tax filing system that begins in january. host: explain what the alternative minimum tax is and why it was put in place? ye, now, all of a sudden more people might be subjected to it than previously? guest: it is basically a parallel tax system alongside the regular individual income tax. it was initially designed to make sure that a small group of high income taxpayers were paying some minimum rate of tax. because of its nature and explicitly because it has not been indexed for inflation it would affect more and more taxpayers down the income ladder.
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the major -- the alternative minimum tax disallows certain deductions and exemptions. most notably, exemptions for persons and their dependents and the deduction for state and local taxes. those are the real reasons why people find themselves on the amt. host: we are talking with joseph rosenberg, a research associate with the tax policy center. we want to show the viewers household incomes and the
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average tax increase that they might expect if we run the car off of the cliffs. for people up to $20,000, they can look forward to a tax increase of $412. between $20,000.40000 dollars, an increase of $400. an increase of $1,900, almost $2,000. between 64,000 and $800,000, if that is your income range in expected tax increase of $3,500. if you are -- you can expect a tax increase of $14,173. tell us the differences between what the white house wants and what the republicans want in a final deal. how far away are they on coming together on this? guest: the good news is it is relatively similar for the majority of taxpayers. the debate is more or less which
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tax cuts to extend and at what income levels the should be extended for. ever since the president's first election campaign in 2008 has maintained that the tax cuts should be allowed to expire for incomes over $250,000 on the other side, there were some additional tax cuts added in 2009 as part of the stimulus acts. those that primarily benefit low and middle income households, the republican plan would not extend those. host: we are talking with joseph rosenberg. if you want to get involved in the conversation, the numbers are on the screen.
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you can also send us messages via e-mail and twitter. the conversation continues on facebook. the first call comes from grade in missouri on the line for republicans. caller: let me talk a little bit, will you, pedro? we have $16 trillion of in debt. tax of the rich people, we make $80 billion. last 10 days. where can you justify taxing the rich? it does not make sense to me. if you keep taxing us, people will move out of the country. they're moving out of california because they're getting taxed. keep in mind that this is ridiculous, and i think the president has put us in a
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terrible situation. host: he should get your television tend because pedro is a much better looking individual that i am. guest: i think it is important to draw a distinction between what the current debate is all about, which is what changes are policy makers going to make for next year. the debates right now is a very short term debate about tax and spending policies over the very short-term. that debate is not going to be the final debate. there is still plenty of issues that we are going to need to deal with with the more medium and longer-term structural issues with our tax and spending
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policies. that is really a much larger debate. it certainly is true that taxing the rich or really any one solution is not going to be sufficient to solve the entire problem. it is going to take several or many different pieces to fix the larger issue. host: next up is wesley on the line for democrats. caller: how are you? good morning. well, france has a luxury tax of 75%. they're fighting a renouncing it is unconstitutional. i guess if we're going to go off the cliff, we will go off the cliff. the pen is mightier than the sword. the people that put us there, get rid of them. as all i can say. host: do you think going to a luxury tax would be the way to go? caller: i think so. the comparative luxury tax on the big yachts on the water down in florida. -- they can put a luxury tax on the yachts on the water in
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florida. guest: i think it is useful to step back. what happens if we go over the fiscal cliffs or even we get the type of deal that the president is looking for? what we are talking about is the top individual income-tax rate rising from 35% to 39.6%. that was the same texture that we had before 2001. -- that is the same tax rate that we had before 2001. we do not need to be up at the 75% level.
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i would not advocate that we go to the 75% level. that is not really where we are. that is not where we need to be. host: we hae a tweet. guest: the payroll tax is basically a fixed percent, at 2% of income. it is capped, so social security tax only accounts for the first 100 dozen dollars of earnings. the benefits are larger or more an important probably for low and middle income working families than they are for higher income families. that is certainly true. you have to remember that the payroll tax was a temporary provision. it actually was enacted at the end of 2010 to replace another provision which was even more targeted toward low enand middle income working families.
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i don't think anybody would dispute that it needs to expire, the question is whether that time is now or whether it should go on a little bit longer. that's a debate that we could have but i will point out it doesn't seem to be a part of the current debate and very likely it won't be. host: joseph rosenberg is with us for charitable giving. back to the phones. jack in allenson, michigan, on our line for independents. go ahead, jack. caller: i want to ask mr. rosenberg if he has ever heard
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of lincoln electric in cleveland, ohio. host: and why did he wanted to know that? caller: well, they wrote a book, james f. lincoln wrote a book, a new approach to industrial economics where they have no unions. everybody is responsible for their own work. they do peace work. everybody's responsible. everybody has a lifetime job. they get huge pieces of the pie. and ownership is -- the people, the workers, everybody owns the piece of the pie. host: what does this have to do with the fiscal cliff? caller: well, if more -- if more people -- if more industries would go to that, they wouldn't fall off the cliff. everybody would go to work.
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host: mr. rosenberg? guest: so i haven't heard of that but it sounds like a great place to be and live. i would have to get the name of that again. host: next up is don on the washington redskins. -- "washington journal." caller: i've been on social security for several years now. it's my understanding that the amount of money that you pay in through the payroll tax affects the amount of social security that you receive and it looks to me like people are under the illusion that this 2% is a good deal but at the same time, why they're going to be shortening themselves when they retire. is that right? guest: so that's a good question. it actually isn't really right. so the payroll tax is basically being used as a vehicle to
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deliver the tax cuts to workers. the way the federal budget accounting works is that the money that is not going into the social security system via the reduced payroll tax, is being reimbursed from general revenue so the reduced -- the reduced payroll tax from the last few years will not affect benefits that you accrue for the future. host: mark of the american enterprise institute writes under the headline "make the middle class pay more." he says -- host: your thoughts about what mr. threesen had to saw. say.
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guest: i differentiate the debate we're having that it's basically about the tax system for next year and maybe the year after. and a longer term debate about tax and spending policy. and i think going forward, especially after the economy has a chance to fully recover and is on stronger footing, then i think it is not only a reasonable but necessary for taxes to go up relative to what they have been the past few years and even over the past 10 years to rise to slightly higher levels in order to meet the spending needs that the country seems to long.
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host: ed is in columbus, ohio. he's talking to us on the democrats line this morning. ed, you're on the "washington journal" with joseph rosenberg, research associate at the tax policy center. caller: thank you, good morning. mr. rosen berg, with the fiscal cliff blooming, do you believe the i.r.s. will be able to calibrate their system at this late of a date and would the debt ceiling debate blooming, could that delay federal refunds? thank you. guest: yes. the question about the i.r.s. is a good one and it is an important one. so it almost is certainly bound to complicate the filing season. i think already the i.r.s. has said that they are -- they have not released updated withholding tables for winner to. -- 2013.
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what that means is employers will use the withholding tables for federal income tax. but if a deal is made or no deal is made, that's going to have to change and at some point, employers will have to change their federal income tax withholding amount. i mentioned with the alternative minute 34u78 tax, that will -- minimum tax, that will complicate the season. i think the i.r.s. has said as many as 70 million tax filers could be subject to delays if the a.m.t. is not patched for 2012. host: antonio in nashville,
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tennessee. you're on the "washington journal." go ahead. caller: good morning, gentlemen. thank you. i'm going to say i'm going to guarantee you guys that there's no -- there's not going to be a fiscal cliff because the fiscal cliff compass more than just taxes. you've got the quester and the unemployment insurance. the republicans and democrats know that they can't afford to go back in a recession at this point and the republicans are going to get blamed for it. the taxes still increased and y'all promised not to do that and on the other hand, if they make a deal now, they can go back and say look, we're not in total control. we only control the one branch of government so we made a deal to keep the taxes, you know, low on 98% of the country and that's to win. and as far as the sequester, the afford to lose all those military jobs. that's 100 million jobs possibly lost. and then you've got the unemployment, you know, two million people unemployment, they can't afford not to have that revenue injected into the system so i believe come monday, they're going to have a deal.
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i believe it. there's not -- they are not -- i'm going to guarantee you you guys. host: eve got a guarantee from antonio. joseph rosenberg who makes a living researching this material. are you willing to throw your lot in with our last caller? guest: you know, i think he's probably on to something. now, i mean, i'll point out that the deal doesn't have to come next week before the 31st. it would be better if it did but then again, it had been better if it came last summer or the year before. there is time to do the deal in early january or even later than that and retroactively make all the fixes and there is
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likely not to be significant effect and i think the deal that -- and i think the likelihood that something like that happens by mid to late january is very high. now, i mean, again, we've talked about that. that doesn't mean that everything will be avoided. so the payroll tax likely will not be part of the deal. so we will -- it is while it is very likely that we will not go over the fiscal cliff as it were in its entirety, there will be changes that take effect to some extent. host: we have not for pub is one of our tweeters and says that wants to know what 2012 filings does the fiscal cliff effect? -- affect?
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guest: so we've already talked about the alternate niff minimum tax. that's the big one. but there's a host of expiring tax provisions that lumped together and usually referred to as the tax extenders. and a number of them expired at the end of 2011. aside from the a.m.t., it includes things like on the individual side, an adoption credit, the ability for individuals to deduct state and local sales taxes as well as on the business -- there's also a host of tax provisions on the business side. all those are things that are expired for the 2012 tax year, but is possible will be resurrected in any fiscal cliff year. host: joseph rosenberg, research associater with the tax policy center. to find more information about
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not only mr. rosenberg at their website, taxpolicycenter.org. we've got another -- no, we don't have another tweet. let's go back to the phones. milton in miami, florida, on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: good morning from warm south florida. host: ok. caller: i have a question and your ph.d. candidate might be able to answer this. is the president looking to actually raise more tax revenue or punish people? because history tells us that if you lower tax rates, you take in more taxes. so what's he trying to accomplish here? that's number one. number two, only in washington could they take a mathematical problem, mainly social security, and cause it to be a political problem. is there a way to fix either one? host: take the first part of
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that -- guest: take the first part of that. i take issue with the idea that tax cuts increase revenue and the converse that tax increases would reduce revenue. that's not the historical experience. that's not the view of virtually every economist that i've met. look, it's important to remember that really what we're talking about is extending current tax cuts. and the question is which tax cuts should be extended and for whom. taxation is not an economic science. it definitely -- if you gather 10 people in a room, you're going to get 10 different opinions and the views on taxing -- on the merits and philosophy of taxing individual asks the rich will vary.
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but, you know, this sort of immediate problem is not necessarily the larger philosophical question. it really is the more practical question of what is our tax system going to look like. host: and we've got this lead editorial from this morning's "wall street journal." real housewife offense the beltway. they write -- host: back to the phones. don in oklahoma city on our line for democrats.
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go ahead, don. caller: good morning. i have a couple of quick comments i would like to make. the first is that i find it ironic for so many years in recent history republicans have claimed to own patriotism yet they don't seem to want to vacate their fair share. host: joseph rosenberg. guest: you know, i mean, i'm not sure, you know, i'm not sure this is about pay. -- patriotism or anything like that. you know, the question of who should pay taxes and how much is again, as much a political question and is as it is, an economic question. you know, i mean, i think it's important to remember that the sort of recent history of the
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sort of evolution of the income distribution in the united states where we've seen increasing income inequality and an increasing share of pre-tax income earned at the very top. and so a sort of -- it's a certainly valid debate to say well, should our tax system recognize that fact and adjust and look to first raise taxes at the very top before going down the income ladder? but again, i think ultimately, we're going to have to look to raise revenue at all income levels to some extent and that's probably inevitable. host: earlier, we talked a little bit about how this is going to affect taxpayers, but what is the i.r.s. doing?
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how are they preparing for whether or not we go off the cliff? do they have a plan and a plan b? guest: so i'm not exactly sure. i'm sure there is considerable lengths at the i.r.s.. obviously, it is difficult for them to prepare tax forms when the law is not set even yet for 2012, let alone to tell employers how they should withhold taxes in the coming year. so, you know, it's certainly a case of a solution that comes more quickly is better for -- from their point of view. from we've got a tweet
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wild and wonderful and she says all of this could not -- all this would not be happening? mitt romney had won in november. right, because when g.o.p. is in the white house, deficits don't matter. can you tell us a little bit about the philosophies of the two candidates? well now, the president and the ex-candidate. will the situation be that much different if there was a different man in the white house? guest: well, look, it's an interesting question. it is certainly true that tax policy was one of the key sort of issues in the last election. and actually, the debate that we're having if it sounds familiar, it's because we've had it several times before. it was really a similar debate to what we had in 2008. we had the same debate in 2010. we had a similar debate in 2011 when we were dealing with the debt ceiling issue the first time around. and we dealt it with it in the last election.
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and the differences have always been that president obama has maintained that tax cuts should be allowed to expire for people making more than $250,000. mitt romney called for extending all the tax cuts fully. and making other changes to the tax code. but, you know, i mean, he wouldn't be in office right now anyway. so i think we would still be here talking about what to do come january 1. host: all right. david in maine on our line for independents. go ahead, david. caller: yes. i've been around for a few years and i've seen this coming
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since 1970. when revenue -- when wages did not go up, revenue doesn't come into the government. and when we constantly spend and promote money, shipment overseas, shipment job overseas, and we blame people like me on social security, you know we're elite on systems. excuse my language. host: david, we're going to leave it there. joseph rosenberg. guest: it is true right now that tax collections are at near historic low but that largely remains a result of the still weak economy. and so when the economy went into recession in late 2008, tax collections really plummeted and have remained low both because incomes have remained low and we have enacted counterfiscal policies that have reduced taxes further. that will reverse itself to a larger extent that's economy recovers and especially if things like the payroll tax cut expires and other of these tax
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cuts expire. so, you know, going forward, tax collections will stabilize and rise. there are still a long-term or medium and long-term structural imbalances between revenue and spending that will need to be addressed. but that's a fight for another day. host: we have got -- we had a tweet there. let's go back to the phones then. joe in makinaw, illinois, on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: yes. i just like to remind my republican friends that what we have is a problem here of imbalance. we cannot go into an austerity program like mr. rosenberg has been talking about.
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we cannot have an austerity program and grow our way out. we have to spend more. and i'm so happy that mr. rosenberg has said that he's debunked this idea that when you have lower tax rates, you increase revenues because that is complete fallacy and he has been very good about stating that situation. host: how much more do you want to see us spend? joe? caller: how much more do i want to spend? host: yeah. caller: well, i think he's right when he says that taxes have to go up on everybody eventually. but what the president is doing is he has maid his political statement to get re-elected and it got him re-elected and -- host: and we're going to leave it there. joseph rosenberg.
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guest: yeah, no. so i don't disagree with a lot of what the caller said. it is important to point out that the real danger of the fiscal cliff is not -- is not an issue of high deficits and high debt levels, but rather is the idea that we would go too far too fast for the direction of deficit reduction and austerity to borrow the word of the caller. so really, the question is how much -- so the past few years, you could think of the federal government as appropriately putting its foot on the accelerate to help a weak economy. the question is how quickly and -- how quickly the government should ease off the gas pedal, what the fiscal cliff is
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essentially taking the foot off the gas, putting two feet on the brake pedal and standing up. that is not what we want to do. the question is finding the right balance that still supports a vulnerable economy, yet begins the process to renormalize the revenue level of the federal government. host: now we've got the tweet from a fussy liberal. it says it's time to be a liberal and -- host: how much of the fiscal crisis can be attributed to the war into the afghanistan that were not part to the original budget? caller: it is -- guest: it is instructive to go back. if you look at the current deficit over $1 trillion, still
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a majority of that is related to the recession that began in 2008. however, it is certainly true that going into that recession, we were dealing with structural deficits that were result-a-result of tax cuts initiated during the bush administration and higher spending levels as well. and so you know, all of those play a role and it's certainly true that at the end of the day, more or less, what we decide to spend as a society, as a government, we have to then raise in taxes. so we cannot independently choose the level of taxes and the level of spending at some point
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sooner, those are to more or less balance. host: joseph rosenberg is a research associate at the tax policy center and we're talking to him about who's affected by the fiscal cliff. we've got about another five minutes left in this segment. we want to show you our listeners and viewers a little bit about what center blunt of missouri had to say. he is doing the republicans radio address this weekend. and he talks a little bit about the president's proposal to raise taxes on the top 2%. let's see what he has to say and we'll get a response back from joseph rosenberg. >> the president's proposal to raise taxes on the top 2% of the americans won't pay one third of the annual interest that is owed on this debt. the president's tax like -- hike would only fund the government for eight days. americans deserve to know what is what do we do for the over 357 days of the year? inaction shouldn't be an option. the problems facing our country are big but they're not necessarily all that complicated.
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the president will never have more political capital than he does right now and the next few days will begin to define his second term. he was elected to lead. we can still avoid going over the fiscal cliff if the president and the democrat control senate step forward this week and work with republicans to solve this problem and solve it right now. host: joseph rosenberg, your thoughts on what the senator had to say. guest: well, look, i'm not interested in getting in the middle of the political back and forth. you know, i think the main -- the first idea is similar to an earlier caller about this sort of insufficiency of only taxing the rich. and that's certainly a valid point. i think, again, there's -- you
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need to draw a distinction between what we're currently talking about the immediate issue of what our tax system will look like next year and then -- and separating that from the longer term issues of tax and spending in which there are, you know, real philosophical differences about the role of government in social insurance in providing health care and how we're going to raise revenue going forward. host: our next caller comes from chris in houston, texas on our line for democrats. go ahead, chris. caller: hi. i'm just saying that payroll
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tax, we really don't get a tax relief because at the end of the year, we had to pay -- we get less back from the government on our income tax. and what the payroll tax does, it just gives us more money during the year. and one other thing. president bush had a surplus at the start of his term of being president. instead of giving that tax rate to the rich, he should have put that money into medicare. what kind of fool doesn't see the babyboomers coming into their health issues? host: joseph rosenberg. guest: so just as a point of clarification, so the payroll tax cut, it is not recaptured at the end of the year. so that is -- for the past two years, the tax rate has been
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reduced by 2% that has basically been trickled out in paychecks in the form of lower withholding throughout the year. but is not later recaptured at the end of the year with a higher tax. host: next up is mickey in kings port, tennessee, on our line for independents. go ahead, mickey. caller: good morning. first of all, let me say that i am definitely not in the rich class. i'm closer to the bottom as the top. but my question being fair, what's wrong with having a fair tax or an equal tax where no matter what income level you have if you make $10,000 a year or $10
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million a year, that you pay the same percentage on your gross income or we tax everything that's sold. that way, there's no way of getting around the deductive from the incomes? -- income tax? it doesn't make sense to me the way the program is set up. thank you. 12k50 host: guest: we're transitioning the media issue of our current income tax to whether we should fundamentally rethink our tax system. the idea of sort of flat taxes or national retail sales tax, taxes have long been proposed and talked about. i mean, i think fundamentally, it sounds appealing, but, you know, what you're really talking about is relative to what we do now. you're talking about a much different way of raising -- much more revenue from lower and
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middle income people and less from the very rich. my sense is that's not where the american people are at. there is this sort of sense that higher income people raising the dollar revenue from them is sort of less harmful than it is from lower income folks. so, i mean, those debates are worth having, but i think when you actually get down to the specifics and play it out, things like a straight flat tax or national retail sales tax don't make a lot of sense. host: we've been talking with joseph rosenberg, a research associate at the tax policy center. if you want to get more information about the work that they do, you can go to our website, taxpolicycenter.org. part of the urban tax policy
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working center. thank you very much for being on the program. >> it is followed by a look at president obama's cabinet for a second term. our guest is david jackson. then a look at what is next for iraq. journal" live at 7:00 am eastern. >> he will talk about the 113 congress and his priorities as the incoming republican freshman class president. >> as president obama begins a second term in office, what is
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the most important issue he should consider. >> make a short video about your message to the president. but when a grand prize of $5,000. >> the senate approved a $60 billion relief package to victims of hurricane sandy. chuck schumer talks about what this means to residents of these dates -- states who are impacted. this is about 15 minutes. >> thank you for coming.
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the senators are elated with the open discussion and allowing of amendments. most importantly the strong bipartisan support for a bill that would give much needed relief from a storm sandy. we are urging the house to put this bill on the floor quickly and allow a vote. we're asking speaker gaynor to do just that. just as it would be unconscionable for the house to leave without voting on it this booklet if -- on this fiscal cliff, it would be unconscionable to be without voting on sandy. we got 12 votes from the republican. it are three democrats that were here that were not here we would
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have 64 votes. that shows how important this bill was. it gives an impetus to the bill in says this bill has bipartisan support not only in the senate but in the house. do not ignore the needs of new yorkers and others. we have a desperate situation. we have billions and billions of dollars of damage. we have homeowners waiting and watching to see if this bill would pass so that they could begin to think of getting help to rebuild their homes. we'll see if they can get help. we have governments both large and small like long beach in so
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many others on long island. they are just waiting to see if they will get some relief so they can move forward with their plans. we beat back most of the crippling amendments. it is a very fine day for the senate. be sent to old tradition of different parts of the country rallying helps those under the national disasters. the fact that 12 republicans voted for a bill that contains virtually no offsets except for the one amendment that passed last week, it that is a full bill that gets new york and new jersey rapidly on the road to recovery. it tells us with hope that we
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can get something done quickly. when we explain to our colleagues what we needed they listened carefully. we were really very glad about that. let me say a few specific things. there is very ample funding in this bill. homeowners lost more than $31,000 of damage in their home. they can get relief so that small-business owners who need more than loans can get to relief. there's ample funding for the army corps. it was free with all of the aid here.
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a couple more plants. mitigation is in this bill. they are not new projects that come out of the blue. they are building on existing products to prevent damage from occurring it got forbid another sandy like storm hit us. it will allow to install concrete polls rather than the wooden poles they had. it will allow our subway system and june to put in protection so that the waters will not flood the damn again. it will allow our hospitals when they rebuild to make sure that they put those extremely expensive machines on higher floors so if god forbid there is another flood a one of the
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damage. it is a strong bill. is it everything? no. is it a huge shot in the arm? the new york metropolitan area? yes it is. we need the house to act. we are waiting, hoping, and expecting that we will see some action from our colleagues. we had a great partnership here. senator lautenberg has a strong case of the flu in could not be here. they contributed. she has been a great partner as we were rounding up the vote and the strategy of getting this bill done. >> i want to thank senator schumer for leading the efforts in making sure that the entire
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chamber understood what the folks from new york have gone through. both really made a difference in explaining how hard new jersey was hit. i want to thank our governor for coming down here. that made a difference. we have seen so much suffering in new york. there has been so much hardship, heartbreak. this is a very get stuck in the right direction. -- good step in the first direction. it will allow the money for homes to start being rebuilt. it will allow businesses to get access to capital. every time we have seen a disaster we all rally to that area of the country.
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that is what we have always done. this is a very strong bipartisan vote. we have 12 republicans joining us. i think that has a very strong signal. this is a bipartisan piece of legislation that represents america. we will always stand next to those in need. i beseech the house of representatives to come in and vote on this bill, let the house members vote their conscience and know they can do what is right in stand by those with separate gravely. >> they did an amazing job. we have labeled heard the engineer. she got that train running very fast and got it passed in record time.
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they gave us tremendous a device. it went a little longer than we thought. i want to thank all of the staff did a great job and all the people from new york to lobby. the mayor was down here several dozen -- several times. a lot of our leadership was called to make calls particularly to our republican colleagues. we're ready for your questions. >> do you have any confidence? >> we are hopeful. i've spoken to several colleagues today. it was about making sure that we have a whole bunch of republicans from new york and new jersey making sure they have this leadership.
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and we're talking to colleagues to make sure. whenever we called on gov. christie he was there and did everything we asked. >> we have had a lot of help across the aisle, making sure there were amendments. that is what i hope will bring the house leadership to bear. hopeful that they will vote. we think the work we have done will lay very good round work. we do not think you have to go through a whole process again. not only because of the large vote but there's so much bipartisan goodwill.
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what amendments to you need? he said you better go to coburn. he said i have seven amendments. agreed to split one. we expected -- accepted one of his unanimously. the process was a robust process. >> could you take this bill that passes that scott and do
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not want to get ahead of our leaders. just as they have irresponsibility on the fiscal cliff they have an responsibility here on sandy. this should give impetus. why not me give some other people a first chance? >> comwe are going to introducet early next year. tax measures are usually done separately. we will be doing that early next here. that is how it has worked and previous disasters.
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>> they said they are working on an agreement made your next week. they make sure the package as small enough so you have enough pieces to trade with. >> we do not believe we should be trading debt limits. plan with the full credit makes no sense. we ought to do the debt limit on its own. to say we're not going to pay the bill does not make much sense. as for what is happening now, i have spoken to both leader harry reid and leader mcconnell. today agree it was a very good meeting. there is real good potential.
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we await any proposals to modify that. >> what if they want to use whas debt limit? >> i do not agree with that. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] we would help that they want to do amendments. we would hope they would allow an up or down vote. thank you everybody. have a nice evening.
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we will see you. de this morning we got an update on the hurricane sandy relief funding legislation. >> dan friedman is a correspondent with the new york daily news. he is here to talk about the bill that passed yesterday. the senate passing an aid package. it took a 0.5 weeks.
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what is in that package? what is not enough package? >> the biggest item is about $17 billion. there's about 12 billion ford transit repair. people who live in flood areas could get their damages covered. those are probably the biggest. >>host: there were some items folks tried to tack on, and then it's not necessarily related to hurricane sandy. guest: in the bill that passed, it includes $150 million for fisheries repair available to people in alaska, mississippi, and new england.
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there is money to repair and marine debris floating across to alaska from the tsunami. there are various bits of funding that goes to other parts of the country. there's $3 billion, some of which will be available to hurricane isaac victims. host: in your article, you talk about the next step. the house returns sunday for a possible vote on the fiscal cliff field. republican leaders have not said whether they will act on the sandy bill or move a smaller alternative measure. congressional aides say the best chance for the full package to pass is if it moves in tandem with a potential agreement to avert the fiscal cliff.
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the strategy in the house is if they try to move this bill at the same time they move the fiscal cliff bill, it has a better chance of passing them by itself? guest: the house is back to deal with the fiscal cliff bill. the hope to supporters of the sandy supplemental is the house would do something on the fiscal cliff package and somehow they could use that as an opportunity to get the sandy bill through. the chance for the full supplemental to be passed before the end of the year, it will either be a smaller amount or they will not touch it at all. the senate will have to start over next year. host: raymond hernandez
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i need." >> they joined -- an unusual move they are working together as opposed to saying separately i am in new york, this is what i need, new jersey and connecticut are on their own. they have to make their own appeal. guest: you have a lot of the personalities representing the victims of sandy. they have pulled together effectively after the first few weeks after the storm.
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they have generally been pushing the same direction. the problem the victims of sandy have in new jersey and new york is there represented almost primarily by democrats. the house is run by republicans. democrats have the problem of getting them to pay attention to them in the house. one option is to have chris christie to put pressure on house leaders. host: senator chuck schumer of new york talked about the partisan support of the built in the senate and urged house speaker boehner to quickly bring the bill to the house floor. he says it would be unconscionable for the house to leave without allowing a vote on the bill. we will show you what the senator had to say on the floor. [video clip]
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>> the senators are elated with the open discussion, allowing of amendments, and a strong bipartisan support of a bill that will give much-needed relief from storm sandy. we are urging the house to put this bill on the floor quickly and allow the vote. we're asking speaker boehner to do that. it would be unconscionable for the house to leave without voting on the fiscal cliff. it would be unconscionable as well for them to leave without voting on sandy. the strong bipartisan support, we got 12 votes from republicans. if the three democrats were here, we would have had 64 votes on the bill.
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we still got 60. that shows how important this bill was pretty strong bipartisan vote gives an impetus to the bill and says to speaker boehner is that this bill has bipartisan support in the senate and house. please move it. do not ignore the needs of new yorkers and others who have suffered. host: dan friedman, use of the appeal. is there a strategy among the senators and representatives of those states to try to get enough republican support so the bill would pass on the house side? guest: there is a strategy to pressure leaders and the appropriations chairman to bring up the bill.
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he was asking for an up or down vote. that is part of it. they do not want house leaders to bring up an alternative. they say at least give us a vote on the version we passed. new york members are trying to mobilize their constituents to put pressure on house republicans. the problem they have is most of those groups are traditionally affiliated war with democrats. they have to try to cross the aisle. host: washington is a city that lives and dies by the deal. is there something the speaker may ask for in exchange? guest: the speaker has been consumed by the fiscal cliff efforts. by all indications, house leaders have not had a lot of time to consider how they will move on the sandy supplemental. they may not know what they want in exchange. many of their members and the majority leader have been
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adamant in the past that at least some disaster aid should be paid for by other parts of the budget. the senate bill does not. that might be something house leaders will look for. host: we're talking of a senate passing the $60 billion hurricane sandy aid package with dan friedman. if you want to get involved in the conversation, the numbers -- we have a special line for those impacted by hurricane sandy. if you were impacted by hurricane sandy, give us a call.
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our first call comes from elizabeth in dover, mass., on the line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have a point raised by geological professors. my background is in climate science. i think the house needs to act on this bill may be even before the fiscal cliff issues and not allowed to impede the relief efforts. we need to take the larger view. i am disappointed climate was not a bigger issue in the election. should fema and the federal government be in the business of insuring coastal properties due to be wiped out by future hurricanes? people need to consider the rebuilding efforts should be done in land on higher ground with greater thinking by the army corps of engineers.
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guest: elizabeth is referring to the national flood insurance program. the federal government provides flood insurance for people who live in high-risk areas. many people argue there is an incentive for people to live in at risk areas in the federal government is paying for people to live in areas where if there were regular market forces, they would choose not to live there because it would be too expensive. there was an effort to reform the program. the senate changed the way the program works so people who have second homes on beaches can no longer get the full benefit of the program. that remains a concern for a lot of people.
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host: next up is june in missouri. caller: why did they say it is the president that does the spending when the bills go through congress? i think they need to get to work on the hurricane sandy package. i have a niece and nephew that lost their home. she was a single lady with a child. it directly affected us. the whole family sent stuff to help her out. i know there are many that have no family to help them out. they need to pass this bill and helped these people. host: dan friedman? guest: the president proposed an aid package that is pretty much the same as the one the senate passed, with some amendments.
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i think the president and congress are the ones spending the money. congress appropriates funds. we can criticize or praise them together for this package. we will see if the house does pick it up in the next few days. host: next up is mary lou on the line for independents. caller: i watched the special program they had with the rock stars about two weeks ago. i did give money for it. i have never heard how much they made. they must have made a lot of money. it was on from 8:00 until midnight or something. i have not heard a word about it since then. they should have made a few
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million dollars anyway. do you know what happened to that? that is my question. host: when you are watching a concert, who was your favorite art? caller: bruce springsteen. mick jagger is certainly a character. host: do efforts like that concert, does it show there is an increased need for this kind of money? does the government say you can have a concert and raise money to help these people? guest: many critics of the bill say the private sector should respond. i do not know how much was raised in the concert.
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hopefully, they will put out a public statement to find out how much they raised. nonprofit charities are not going to raise the kind of money the states say that they need. the states initially asked for $82 billion. that will not be raised by the private sector. the federal government has a long pass established role in providing the bulk of the funds for emergency relief. realistically, charity giving is not going to be more than a drop in the bucket. host: "the new york times" says the chairman of the appropriations committee and others have argued the aid should be released in installments. if they were to go into installments, have determined how large they would be?
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guest: they have not. the first installment would probably be at least $9.7 billion to replenish the national flood insurance program because it will run out of money. even critics recognize the need to put money in because people already have insurance. it is not clear how the installment process would work. the concern of supporters of the bill is once the immediate impact of sandy receipts, there
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will not be future installments. they want to strike while the iron is hot. they do not think they will get much of the money if they do not get it now. host: mo is the next caller from florida. caller: my comment would be the $60 billion bailout for hurricane sandy victims is all well and good. 50 states are providing this funding. i do not think the contractors should be all union. i think of people should have a right to work there and not be part of the situation when the north carolina power workers came to help and were forced into a union before they would be allowed to provide free services. the company pull them back to north carolina. their aid was not available because of union preference. guest: this is a perennial issue with these kinds of funding
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bills. there was a vote in the senate yesterday which was defeated in the senate consistent with his concern. it is a difficult issue. democrats were going to work with unions. the change republicans will try to make is to change that to have a more open workplace environment. host: an editorial -- responding to and preparing for natural disasters is one of government's most important functions. it's as lawmakers should provide immediate relief without having to worry about demanding that spending to cut elsewhere. jan in springfield, mass., on the line for democrats.
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caller: i would like to say in florida in 2004 when they had all of the hurricanes, state farm insurance pulled out of the state and refused to ensure homes. people that have car insurance with state farm wanted to cancel their insurance. we found out state farm is judging each state. there are states where they are not making a profit so they are not insuring. global warming and new storms, the insurance companies need to look at their policies and unite them as americans. please quit referring to us as "ordinary" and referred to us as
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the backbone of the nation. guest: i was born in massachusetts, so i certainly feel you are part of the backbone of the nation. there is not reformed insurance policy coverage in this bill. a big problem people have is that many people had a homeowner's insurance they incorrectly thought would cover flooding. a lot of people do not have flood insurance. those people have large amount of damages preventing them from doing repairs. i think you can get $31,000 through fema. there are small business loans available. $31,000 for homes with major damage is small. a big part of this bill is providing other sources of funding for those without adequate insurance coverage.
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host: next up is pri from new york, new york, impacted by the storm. caller: good morning. i am disabled. i am a staten islander. before the hearing on fare increases, when the staten island ferry was reopened, i wrote about it and took photographs. my senator contacted them. those who are ambulatory impaired have no way to get to the ferry by train. it has been wiped out. they say it will take one year. i was greeted by the vice-
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president of mta who promised support. we went back and forth before the holiday. he said we cannot give you a shuttle bus normally done with construction. he said we cannot do it because we do not have buses to go directly. you can walk 12 blocks. i live like him to address this. the chair of the mta and others have gone to washington to ask for more money. they have two coo's on the payroll getting paid at the same time.
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the guy had a golden parachute in his contract that he would remain on the payroll. host: we will leave it there. guest: i am not familiar with this issue. i will bring it to the attention of the editors. the transit improvement is local. it is a big part of this bill. at the federal level, there is more than $12 billion in transit improvements. there is money for immediate repairs and mitigation to prevent future disasters.
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that is one of the places where the bill has been criticized. a lot of money is not just for repairing damaged but mitigating future impact. the hud secretary is heading a task force for recovery. he said the problem they have is transit agencies are repairing damage and trying to do mitigation of the same time. it is difficult to pull those apart and just do the repairs. that is why they're pushing for mitigation funding as well. host: this goes a long the lines of this tweet.
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is this package just for immediate repair and recovery? does this go to rebuilding the infrastructure so they will not be subjected to this kind of suffering if they were to get hit by another storm? guest: a lot of money goes to state. they can divided up based on need. i do not know if they will get it. the house is looking at a smaller version. they say they want to study it and come back with a bill for mitigation later. advocates of the legislation do not want to go that route. it is up in the air whether a lot of these repairs will be paid for. host: we're talking with ralph from new york who has been impacted by the storm. tell us how you are doing now. caller: good morning.
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hello? i am calling to ask you a question. i was there when the storm came. i am still in this place. i have a wife and two kids. fema gave me some money to stay in a hotel or somewhere for two mounts. the money they gave me was not enough. i had to put my own money with that to stay in the hotel for a month. i will be able to go back into my apartment and territory. i am not in the hotel. i was out december 18. i reapplied for further assistance. so far, i did not hear back from fema. i faxed the hotel bill. they told me i was not supposed to stay in the hotel. someone was supposed to give me a lease for two months.
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there was no way i would get a lease for two months in new york. i could not do that. i had to stay at a hotel. do you have a number where i could call to get some help? i am staying with someone in my family is staying with someone else. we are separated right now. guest: i do not have a phone number for you. i would suggest calling your congressman and senator, your local representatives. they ought to be able to help you. host: would this bill include reimbursement for this situation the gentleman presented? he has run out of the money he got from fema and need someplace to stay. when he gets on his feet and submits paperwork, which he get reimbursed from the $60 billion?
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guest: hopefully. i do not know all the rules. the idea of the bill is to address situations like his and ensure everyone with these problems are getting the funding. people in new york are running into red tape. i do not think the bill will solve the problem. fema will still be a bureaucracy. there will still be a lot of documentation requirements and rules. hopefully there will be more money available through the bill. host: we're talking with dan friedman about the senate passing the $60 billion hurricane sandy aid package. dan friedman is an undergraduate of the university of pennsylvania and has a master's degree from the london school of economics and political science. james calling from missouri on
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the line for independents. caller: political calculation is difficult when you taking all factors. one factor having to do with sandy and news coverage had to do with rising surge levels, all of which was well documented. it was the first time they had water in the subways. people are trying to figure out why. i am an environmentalist, as you can tell. people are trying to figure out why mr. romney lost the election. towards the end of his campaign, he made one statement. he said, i am not in this race to stop the rising tides in the ocean or save the planet.
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that tells you something. host: governor romney may not have been able to stop the rising tide, but is there anything in this bill that may help to keep the waters from flooding if there is another storm? guest: there is a lot of that kind of spending. the mitigation spending is one of the issues up in the air. federal authorities as well as senators and house members are eager to keep that funding in the bill. they are not just repairing the damage. they are trying to put up sea walls and do mitigation to prevent damage to the next time.
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host: perry from michigan, you are on "washington journal." caller: all of these countries we give money to that do not cooperate, like the guy in mexico who is a prisoner that we give millions of dollars to. why not take that money and give them to americans? the private talked earlier about the unions, back in the 1970's, the unions were yelling to buy american. now they're having commercials on tv to buy american. host: we're going to move on to mark on the line for independents.
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caller: i want to ask if he thinks the house will address the $60 billion package from the senate with all of the pork in it. does congress need to start cutting the extra pork out of their budgets? guest: i do not think the house will pass the measure with all the spending. it is tough to say right now. the reason a lot of this pork is in the bill is to pass it in the senate. it is not coincidental there is money that goes to alaska. it is not coincidental there is money for mississippi in the gulf coast region and the gulf coast and those senators voted for the bill.
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it is easy to say that is pork spending. to get it through, sometimes they have to make these compromises. it is part of being effective in the senate and house, making those deals. the amount of spending for non- sandy-related things is small. host: jane is from new york on the line for republicans. caller: what should be done? why not have the national guard ready for these crises at home in the united states? have the military separate for what goes overseas.
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years ago, it used to be somewhat like that. the military was the military. the national guard should be used for crisis in the country. host: any money in here for increased troop levels of the national guard? is that state-by-state? guest: i do not think there is money for that. there is not an emergency that requires troops right now. it is mostly repairs. host: bill in iowa on the line for independents. caller: if this bill goes through, is fema looking at the recipients like transit companies and individuals that have been devastated? i want to know what role fema plays in putting the money out to the people that need it.
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guest: fema is one of a bunch of federal agencies that would get money through the bill. various agencies would do different things. transit recovery or the department of transportation would get the money to do that. a lot of money for flood repair would come from housing. fema has two basic rules. one is a disaster relief fund. that is the general fund that gives them the lead role in a lot of recovery. the other is flood insurance. people already have flood insurance. they pay that money out. for people dealing with problems, they're dealing with the small business administration on one hand and fema on the other in some cases.
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host: dan friedman has been talking to us about the bill passed by the senate for $60 billion for hurricane sandy aid. you can find his stories at nydailynews.com. on sunday, we will talk about - the latest on the so-called fiscal cliff. followed by a look at president obama's cabinet. our guest is david jackson. then a look at what is next for iraq. we are joined by a new york times correspondent, michael gordon. washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> next, chief justice john
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roberts talks to students about issues like justices working together. he says reporters are too quick to label supreme court justices liberal or conservative. from rice university, this is just under an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you, and thank you, david, for that gracious introduction, and for all of you for a very warm welcome. this is my first visit to rice, and i'm glad i have come. president leebron told you that i cannot talk about anything current, future, or past, so my remarks will be brief. [laughter] i have had the pleasure of knowing david for 35 years.
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he was a president back then, too, of the "harvard law review." we are used to holding the reins of power. a chief justice also holds the reins of power. the only difference is that a chief justice must hold them lightly, lest he discovered they are not attached to anything. nevertheless, i know of the long and personal experience that david brings to rice, a special vision, and leadership. this school is fortunate to have him at the helm, and i know he feels blessed to be here. i am pleased that they invited me to visit rice as part of the centennial celebration of the university's foundation, and i extend my sincere congratulations to the trustees, the faculty, students, and alumni on your first great century.
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the founding of a new university is always an historic occasion, but the founding ceremony for rice was truly extraordinary. i went back to read the newspaper accounts from october 1912 that recorded the event. the papers reported that the distinguished first president of rice, edgar odell lovett, invited 150 distinguished scholars from around the world to attend the three-day founding celebration. the scholars donned academic robes and marched to the ceremony to the accompaniment of a band. the president prepared and delivered an epic essay on his vision for the new institution. that essay fills 85 pages in print. there is no need to panic or head for the exits. i do not intend to emulate the president in that respect. the newspapers reported that the formal dedication began on october 12, which president lovett intentionally timed to
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coincide with columbus' arrival in america. he aimed high in his vision for the new school. he was not the first speaker. after an opening prayer, a princeton professor recited a lengthy poem, which he wrote for the ceremony. this poem, drawn from an indian legend, evoked images of a wild bees, some stars, and frontier pioneers. the audience listened to the words with the strictest attention, punctuated with frequent applause. the next speaker, the chief justice of texas, spoke in prose. his review was nowhere near as good as the poet received. in light of that, i thought the
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best course would be for me to compose a poem for this occasion. again, no need to panic or run for the exit. i gave up that plan when i could not find a suitable words that rhyme to with "sui generis." president spoke third and delivered his speech. his essay is in fact a truly magnificent scholarly work. it presents a methodical and prophetic vision of what the rice institute would become. i would like to focus on one point he made. he observed a great challenge in creating any institution is "to plan at one and the same time for the immediate future and for the next 100 years." we are now at the century mark, and it is right to say that the president and the six presidents who followed him to have met his challenge. range academic programs from space science to the
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institute for public policy, and they are marked by relevance and their ability. look at the graduates -- rhodes scholars, astronauts, attorneys general, some best-selling authors. the diversity is truly amazing. rice has excelled in ways that even president lovett could not have guessed. in talking about rice's famous come-from-behind victory over heavily favored colorado in the 1938 cotton bowl -- [laughter] [applause] it is at least famous in the halls of the supreme court. until then, unbeaten colorado was led by future justice byron white. despite the stellar offensive and defensive performance from white, which included a touchdown pass and extra points, the owls prevailed.
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not even president lovett could have foreseen that. when he spoke 100 years ago, the newspapers in this state and around the nation took due note that something big was happening in texas. "the new york times" reported that president lovett had attracted an array of the learning such as had seldom been assembled in the united states. "the dallas morning news" waxed mystically and observed that the president's speech coincided with the early evening appearance of both jupiter and venus and suggested that the evening sky was an augury of a bright future for the institute. not every newspaper was as perceptive or transcendent. one local journal reported the founding of rice in the same column the news that congo, the world's largest circus elephant, was coming to town.
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as i said, i will keep my remarks a great deal shorter, but i would like to close with a personal word of congratulations to the president on having the privilege to serve at rice during its centennial. i am delighted to have the opportunity to call him president once again. any of you who have been to supreme court note that the justices on that court are used to asking lawyers a lot of question. today we will turn the tables a little bit and we will have a lawyer ask me a lot of questions. thanks very much. [applause] >> thank you so much, mr. chief justice. as i begin, we have people from all parts of our community, a lot of students here today, and among the students are quite a number who are to thinking about going to law school.
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yet while they have been reading about is both a decline in the reputation of law schools, maybe even a decline in the reputation of lawyers, all that is hard to imagine. [laughter] questions about job prospects after law school, and i thought we would take this opportunity to hear your thoughts and reflections and maybe the advice for our students who are thinking about going to law school, what a career in law should be, or how they should be thinking about the future of law, what the opportunities are. >> well, it is an obvious answer, but one people do not think of. you have to ask yourself why do you want to go the law school. i think there are lot of people who go to law school because they are not good at math and cannot think of anything else to do. [laughter]
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they often turn out to be very disappointed lawyers. i suppose the better way to put the question is not to ask why you want to go to law school, but why do you want to be a lawyer. you ought to do some serious soul-searching about that because it is always a difficult profession, but particularly these days. if you want to go to serve your community perhaps as a prosecutor, that is a good reason. there's something very gratifying that being able to stand up in court and saying you can speak for your country. same is true on the other side. maybe you feel motivated to represent the rights of those people who are accused. that is another good reason. when they announce a case in court, the bailiff will say this is a so and so, people vs. smith, and the district attorney will say i am so and so, i speak for the people.
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i have a friend who is a civil defense lawyer, and when it is his turn, he says i am so and so, i also speak for the people -- just one at a time. perhaps you want to go to law school because you have a particular policy area you are interested in. you want to do what you can to promote environmental protection and you think that working through the law is the best way to do that. you have to have a reason. there are better things to do if you cannot think of something to do than embark on a particular career path. >> thank you. one deterrent to the court for a moment, a little bit on public perceptions. we read about the court and we read about decisions on the court, but the common description is there are conservatives and liberals on the court. there seems to be that categorization that in some sense is not the public's
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perception, but the media's perception. is there a way you like people to think about the justices of the court in those categories? >> sure, i do not think it is an accurate way to think about the court. it is important from the political branches in ways that do not make sense in the non- political branches. in most of our work, you cannot identify a liberal or conservative view. we have a typical bankruptcy tax case and nobody could say you are a liberal if you want to allow the deduction by the state or conservative if you want to require the debt. it does not make any sense, and most of our work concerns cases like that. on ones that are more accessible to the public, it is hard to pick a category. we had a case last term which involved the question of whether or not certain discrimination laws should be applied to religious institutions, so you could challenge the hiring or firing of those ministers on the grounds that it was discriminatory.
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what is the liberal position in that? it is that you should extend discrimination law, or you should protect the free exercise of religion to the greatest extent possible? we would get these cases and resolve them in terms of a particular liberal or conservative political agenda. there are ways of characterizing us that make more sense in terms of what we do. some of my colleagues prefer to adhere strictly to that text of the statute. others of my colleagues look more expensively to what we call the legislative history of the background of the statute, or a purpose, and it makes sense to refer to them in those terms. some of those think it is important what the framers of the constitution were thinking about at the founding when they drafted it.
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others on the court take a more flexible view and think that the interpretation of the constitution should be informed by evolutionary developments. those sorts of things make sense. it is easier, i think, for court reporters to say that justice is liberal and that justice is conservative, and i do not think it is helpful in looking at what we do. >> let me switch to a question about -- more internally focused -- you have expressed the desire to have a more unified court, thinking of a court as a whole rather than individual justices. fewer 5-4 decisions. if you look at the history of 5- 4 decisions of the court, which show a steady increase from 12% to 22%, where the number of dissents has stayed stable over that time, at about 18%, do you think those are a good metric for the court?
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how would you like to see more cohesion in the court, where have you come to a somewhat different view about these things? >> the first thing you need to do is get a good sense of statistics. i think most of these cases -- people who follow the court any serious way -- you think about are the sharply divided 5-4 cases that get a lot of political attention. most of our cases are unanimous. this past year, 44%, and that has gone pretty much around that number. if you take cases that were 7-2, 8-1, or 9-0, they are not too fuzzy about those cases. we come to a fairly broad agreement on 2/3 of our cases, and not all the 5-4 cases are as controversial as you think.
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among the cases we had last year was one asking when you overstate the basis on a sale of a capital asset, thereby reducing the amount of income, is your criminal prosecution subject to a three-year statute of limitations or a six-year statute? that was a knockdown dragout fight leading to a 5-4 decision. sometimes it does not happen, does not have to do with anything political. i think the broader agreements you can get on the court the better. the men in the street naturally want to say, the court is 9-0, they are probably right. if it is 5-4, there must be good reasons the other way. to the extent we can get a broader agreement, the better, and the way to get that is to have narrower decisions , if you see the basis for decision is going to be a narrow grounds, where people can agree
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on them. if you do it more broadly so it will affect more future cases, then people start saying i cannot go quite that far, so i will write separately. i happen to think that is a good thing that our decisions are reached at nearly as narrowly rather than the justices trying to write broadly. i said earlier, i frankly got a lot of criticism to say it was a quixotic adventure to say we move to a consensus on the court. sometimes it cannot be achieved. if one justice thinks that a particular practice violates the fourth amendment and another just thinks that it does not, they cannot meet in the middle. they cannot say it kind of violates the fourth amendment. there are grounds -- and i am not talking about anybody yielding on a matter of principle.
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but the effort to reach agreement, which i think you can achieve in more cases by trying harder at it and trying to focus on a narrow ground of decision, is a worthwhile objective. >> that leads to another question. the supreme court is an exclusive club, but it does not get to pick its own members. we have of course a confirmation process. now that you have been chief justice for a while, are there things you wish that there is a factor in this election, a different question, that perhaps senators were asked or other qualities that maybe they should focus on in the confirmation hearings that they do not now focus on in confirmation hearings? >> i think confirmation hearings work out pretty well in the end. [laughter] it is not a very edifying process.
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the formula is well established. senators asked questions about current hot topics that they want to lay out a position on. they know the nominee cannot possibly answer those questions. the nominee says, "i cannot answer that question," but senators asked the question again. the nominees says, "i still cannot answer that question," then the senator's time runs out and another senator does the same thing. it is not useful in any way, other than to allow the senators to air their views on a particular issue. that is not what it was intended to the. it is presumptuous of me or anyone else to suggest to the senate what they should be asking about, but i think it would be more useful to ask a question that the nominee can answer. along the lines -- "what is your view of the role of the supreme
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court, a court, under the constitution?" people have different views, and i have a view, but other people have different views, and they are wrong -- [laughter] no. my point is you can learn a lot about a nominee, not right or wrong, and you vote against him if he adopts the wrong view, about what they will say about the role of the court. but someone from a foreign country says, "what does the supreme court do," a nominee ought to be able to get a fairly nuanced -- but at the same time the answer that reflects an understanding of the importance of the court in the system of separation of powers. that will come to something about that nominee. it may tell you something that
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encourages you to vote for him or vote against him. those sorts of questions. ask a nominee, "what books did you read growing up that made you want to be a lawyer or a judge?" you learn something if the person sits there with a blank expression. you learn something else if they say "to kill a mockingbird" or something else. you can learn about judicial philosophy, the perspective on the law, and ask them questions like that. it could be made a more useful process, but i do not hold out great hope. >> i will take one of those questions. was there a book or an experience -- [laughter] when you were growing up that made you want to be a lawyer or a judge? >> saw the movie "12 angry men." i watched it a little while ago with my young children. i think it's extraordinarily
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inspirational and tells you a lot about american justice and the use of the deliberation, the role of non-lawyers, people looking at carrying out an obligation they have, a civic obligation, and is inspirational. i cannot say from that moment on i wanted to be a lawyer or a judge, but i do remember it and the impact it had on me, and i wanted to make sure my children have the same experience. there are hundreds of other things people can talk about that would give an inquiring senator some sense of what they thought about the law. >> and the other question, if there is a short answer to it, and because we have most of the audience here not lawyers or judges, how would you articulate in the short answer your view of the role of the court under the constitution? >> the important thing to understand is that there are three branches of government and two of them are political, and if you do not like what the congress is doing, you can throw them out of office.
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if you do not like what the president is doing, you can throw him out office. if you did not like what i'm doing, it is just too bad. [laughter] most people would say, how can that be? the cases are pretty important and you need to understand it is because the framers did not what the court to be making political decisions. quite the contrary. they wanted them to be able to make decisions that people would not agree with, and that is why they have life tenure and why our compensation cannot be diminished. they recognize that they were establishing certain rights, and they recognized that they would be unpopular from time to time. flag burning. i think it is a horrible thing, a horrible thing that people burn the flag. but i also understand that they have a first amendment right to do so.
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would the supreme court not have upheld that there is a first amendment right to burn the flag if a justice would stand for election this fall? you hope it would not because, that is what the first amendment -- but i think it would be a tougher question. we need to understand the framers had an entirely different view in mind of what the supreme court was going to do than what the other branches were going to do, and it was deliberately set up in a way that they would be able to make decisions that people did not agree with. >> thank you. i'm going to switch to some of the questions delivered by our audience. there are more coming our way. this is from thomas, and student at baylor college of medicine. with a constitution that is more than 200 years old, how do you think the court will address the challenges of interpreting law in our modern, ever-changing and
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society of science and technology? >> it is a good question, and one that comes up all the time. the important recognize is, you know, when the airplane came along, the framers, they probably had no idea there would be air travel like that. except for jefferson. the commerce law does not apply to air travel. of course not. the court does not always get this right. for example, when wiretaps first came up. when the framers wrote the first amendment about searches and seizures, and it was thought that the first amendment did not apply to that.
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but it became apparent pretty quickly that allowing private conversations became the same kind of search and seizure thing that the judges wanted to do protect. the fundamental principle underlying the constitutional protection is, we apply that to new issues and technology. i will say that i think that is going to be the real challenge for the next 50 years, how we adopt issues of commercial and technology, how it comes into play when you are talking about computer technology. a lot of a way players involved. what does the fourth amendment mean when you can with technology literally see through walls with heat imaging?
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it's got search and seizure, even though you would not have broken the close, as you would have been medieval england. it puts a heavy burden on the lawyers to explain the technology to us. >> and this question is asked on behalf of the students in attendance, high school and college. i'm going to paraphrase just a little bit. after the appointment as managing editor that led to your meteoric rise, what were the things that led to your ending up as chief justice of the united states? not everybody gets to be chief justice of the united states. how did that happen? >> it is probably the same element that led to you becoming the president of rice. and there is no false modesty. it is simply luck.
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and not just for me, but even the great chief justice, john marshall. he had a bit of luck. john adams wanted to appoint john jay. he had been the first chief justice. rather than going off to new york, there was the time of his ascendancy, and he says, do this again. and john jay says, are you kidding? the supreme court is never going to amount to anything. john adams brings out letter into him and he is crestfallen. he looks at his secretary of state, john marshall, and says, i guess i have to nominate you. [laughter] i'm not saying that someone else might not have been nominated if they had been the one to bring in the letter. [laughter]
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in the grant administration corruption was rife. the first five nominees by grant put forward all seem to be involved in some activity or another. finally, grant says, who was that lawyer and introduced me when i was taken the train across ohio? and they go back and checked and it is somebody named morrison wait. and he said, i liked him. let's nominate him. [laughter] he was described as being in the top tier of the third tier of lawyers in ohio. and frankly, he served quite well as the chief justice. remember, i was not originally nominated to be chief justice. i was originally nominated to replace justice o'connor.
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and then chief justice rehnquist passed away and they switched my nomination at the end. all of us on the court appreciate the fact that we have been struck by lightning and it is the most significant. it is better to be lucky than good. >> you are exactly right. and that is how i ended up at rice. [laughter] [applause] this next question build a little bit on your response. can you tell us a little bit about then justice rehnquist and then later chief justice rehnquist? >> i was very fortunate to have served as a law clerk for chief
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justice rehnquist pierpont endure so after loss would you serve for one of the chief justice's for a year. he taught me how both personally and professionally. he was kind of a pioneer. he had a very good sense of balance between work and life that was not that uncommon in his generation. i remember him telling me at one. , telling the three of oz clarke's, if you want to spend time with your yonne children, you how to do it when you are young. which is a very renquistian turn of phrase. he is telling us, and you cannot say, as soon as i finish this project i will spend more time with the kids. because you wake up and find out they are 17 years old and you miss your chance. he did not do that he was home
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with his family even though he was the chief justice of the supreme court. and he taught me a lot. he said, when you work on these cases, you put everything you can in them and you do as good a job as you can, but then you have to move on. if you go back and think about what you did the right thing, you will be paralyzed. all you can do is do the best you can and move on. i like to think he taught me a lot about being a justice as well. and you go back and read what he wrote and they were clear and crisp. he thought opinions should be able to be understood by an intelligently person. that is not always true about product.
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that is too bad. he set a very good model in that respect. >> what is your favorite passage of the constitution, and why? >> it is the opening phrase, to be honest. "we, the people," that was something that the people actually struggled with. who was setting up this constitution? it was something of a surprise. you would expect at that time for it to be something like "at the united states," "the states and congress assembled." this was going to be a new government directly formed by the people. not a confederation of states each with its own different agenda and perspective.
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that set the tone for the whole enterprise that followed. and it was something that john marshall focus on. it was his decisions that the country focused on. it became a conglomeration of state. it started off well. >> what do you think the biggest misperception the general public has about the court today? >> i think it's a real problem that people think we are just part of the government like everybody else. we have pretty low approval ratings. it often goes up and down depending on whether you think the latest decision is right. but we are better than congress and the chief executive. [laughter] but i think we are low because
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the u.s. government is low. i think people need to understand, and they do not, that we are different. we are doing something different than the other branches are doing. the other branches do things in a partisan way. do not assume that we do those things, because we are not. >> who is your favorite founding father, and why? >> well, i think most judges -- maybe not. james madison is the person who authored the constitution. i think he did a pretty good job. i had the good fortune a couple of years ago to dedicate his home in montpelier, virginia. they reconstructed his life as best they could.
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there is a great deal of jealousy among the founders. mrs. madison library, he did not have as many books as jefferson, but he read them. [laughter] and i said jefferson was not there at the time of the constitution. he was off doing other work. he did the declaration of independence. he and john marshall were cousins. it is a strong word, but they hated each other. before a lot of reasons going back into the midst of the history of their families, but also because -- with jefferson aside, and it is an important distinction, a lot of the founding fathers were war heroes. you think of alexander hamilton, john marshall, you don't think about how they
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became who they were. marshall was at valley forge. he behaved heroically in a number of engagements. and he resented the fact jefferson did not participate in an enterprise. but i have gotten off on a tangent. but madison wrote the constitution. he is my favorite. >> what has surprised you the most since joining the supreme court? >> two things. the first, how serious the discussion is in the conference room. in the conference room of the supreme court, which is right off of my office behind the courtroom, there is one big table. we have on one side and all of the published opinions of the supreme court, on the other side, the statutes that congress has passed. and no one is allowed in there during the discussions except the justices.
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although i had mitigated before the supreme court, had no idea what went on in there. you could imagine how i felt my first try. they had been together for 11 years with no new justices. i was the youngest in the room. certainly, the least judicial experience. i have only been on the court two years and i was coming in as the chief justice. i only had a vague idea of what i was supposed to do in leading the discussion. but right away, i was impressed at the level of which people were talking about the issues, talking about the cases. if there was disagreement about what a case said, you get up and pulled a book and look at it. it is not speeches. it is not any type of intellectual bullying. is a very serious discussion about often very serious issues
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about which people have very strong views. but as someone said, there has never been a voice raised in anger in that room. and that is true to this day. that is one thing that i would not say surprised me, but it really impressed me and i did not know it. another thing is the collegiality among the justices. if you read our opinions you might think that we are up at each other's throats all the time. we are extremely close. if you think about it, you can understand why. it is a unique arrangement. i do not know any other place in life where it does the same thing. you may work at a corporation, but people do different things. we have to do the same thing. we read the same briefs, aside the same cases, go to the same arguments. it creates a special bond.
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i hope that president obama's appointees to the court, who are doing a fabulous job, that we get to work together for 25 years. i remember saying that to justice kagan and she said, only 25? [laughter] she is younger than i am. you learn to get along. you appreciate that you are working together. and those two things, a level of the discussion and the conference, and the extent to which the justices have a very collegial relationship with each other. upi'm going to follow it with a question -- is there anything hasn't a unpleasantly surprised you in the court? >> yes, and i will limit it to one. [laughter] as a chief justice, i have a fair amount of responsibilities.
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it is the highest court in the land. it is also essentially a small government agency with a $200 million budget. people fall on the steps and want to complain about it. you've got to get the right computers for the court. we just completed a renovation of the court that involved a lot of the administrative concerns. if you have been in washington and visited the court, you may wonder why the front is obscured by a scrim. a scrim is one of those sheets -- they try to draw it so it looks like the corporate and has chunks of marble falling off of it. it is a huge enterprise to restore that. you get involved in what the cost of that is, where the money is going to come from, their relations with the architect of the capital.
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i also have the responsibility of the court system as a whole, a $7 billion enterprise. judges, disciplinary questions, roles, issues -- whether you think the reasons are valid or not, among the reasons the president nominated me and the senate confirmed me was not that people but i would be a good administrator but the unpleasant reality is that it comes with the job. i hope to get better at it as i go on. that is the most unpleasant. >> your title is not actually chief justice of the supreme court. it is chief justice of the united states. data and administrative responsibility in some ways is much more broadly to the justices in washington and to the building itself. in that larger capacity, does that also put burdens on you, and do you have concerns about the judiciary of the united states?
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>> i am assisted in the responsibilities nationwide by circuit judges across the nation. the district judge and circuit judges meet several times a year. they operate committees. they address a wide range of administrative issues and they help me enormously. i think there are serious issues in federal courts around the country. it is too expensive for everybody. a medium-sized corp. has to think twice before taking even a meritorious case to court, because of the expenses involved. in some cases, because of the delay. it is just going to add cost on to the price of the final product and internalized those costs. that is unfortunate. there are many disputes that are not taken to federal court that should be because they are too expensive. we have very serious problems
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with delays. and you have judges here in texas that are carrying workloads 10 times more than the national average. and more in some cases. they need relief. we have a great deal of difficulty getting the judicial resources we need in particular places. there are problems that i think you need to be addressed. it gets back to the area i was talking about before, technology. one reason is so expensive is discovery. you have a simple issue, you file a request. please, give me all of your e- mail related to this project. that is hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars, because of new technology. those roles as saying that you could ask for all the documents or written at a time when people did not think about what this was like. they thought they would go through a few files, and here they are.
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unless you address those issues, the court will not function the way it should. >> you mentioned you had been a very successful oral advocate before the supreme court. many people regard address the best all advocate of your generation, including one of your colleagues, who will not mention by name. now that you have been on the oversight of the bench for a while, is there any advice you would have for your former self, or other people in the position of arguing that you did not realize at the time? >> first, i did not become the best supreme court and appellate advocate until i became chief justice. [laughter] my jokes and got funnier when i was the chief justice. [laughter] take it with a grain of salt.
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you do get a different perspective. i tend to view the justices less as adversaries when they are asking questions, and rarely more as friends. because we are not asking questions because we want to trip up a lawyer. we are asking questions because we need to develop a train of thought or give a lawyer a chance, because he is looking at the case the way he or she should not look at it, or give them a chance to explain why they think they are right. it is a little bit more relaxed during the presentation. athletes will tell you this. i know about your baseball team. i bet if you talk to one of the
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players on the team about hitting, they would tell you probably the 85 things you need to think about, what your stance is, your grip, whether your elbow should leave or your shoulder should lead when you turn, but when you get in the position, the worst thing you can do is think about those things, right? you just get up there and hit a ball. it is the same in a lot of other sports. as an appellate advocate, you need to know hundreds of things, but the record says about this or that. but then you just internalize it all and you just get up there and have an intelligent conversation with the court. i would put a higher priority on being able to sort of -- not forget what you have learned, but do not focus on it and focus more on the exchange with the justices. >> what are the main factors when the court decides whether or not to grant social right to a case.
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>> here in texas in the fifth circuit, as the federal court says, you can deduct it particular thing on your tax returns. and in new york, the same deduction from the same expense, you cannot. the answer has got to be the same. but we are the only court that can make it the same. no matter how picky or dull a case may be, that is what we take. we cannot pick and choose. cases where an act of congress has been held unconstitutional
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by a lower court, we will often take back because congress ought to hear it from us rather than a lower court. not often, but it is not the amount of money involved. it is difficult to explain it. schoolchildren come by and i talk to them and they say, that is horribly wrong. sure new taken? no, in fact, in an odd way, the more clearly it is wrong, the less likely other courts are going to follow it, and the less likely we need to fix it. dealing with separations of powers, constitutionality, acts of congress, and ensuring uniformity among federal law. >> the next version has two parts, one of which you have already address. the executive and legislative branches are both political and public, and the court is not. i think you have talked about the reasons the court is not public, going back to the founders' intentions.
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why don't we focus on the a part of this question. if the court is a less public institution in many respects, and there is the whole debate over whether to televise arguments before the courts -- but even in other aspects it is a less transparent and public institutions and other political -- and the other political branches, why you see that in terms of the functioning of the court? >> i would say it is the most transparent of the branches. the other branches do not have to explain to you why they are doing what they do. you have elected them. you have put the responsibility in their hands. they can vote for this law. they can tell you why they did it or why they did not. we have to write an opinion and say what we did that.
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why we have to? because we are not political. i am not elected. i'm here to interpret the law with my colleagues. i'm here to explain what it is. i am interpreting the law. here it is. because that is ensuring that i'm not engage in political activity. at least impose as a check on me. if there is a judge that wants to be a politician, he or she still has to explain what he or she has done. i think we are very transparent, and i think we are also accountable through our opinions. >> what do you see as the greatest challenge to the constitution in today's society? >> i did touch on it earlier in terms of applying the
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constitution. i do think it is the technology. think about it. dna is an obvious example. you can be exonerated through dna evidence. far more often, is used to convict and to catch. is it a search and seizure to take a tweezer full of your skin and see if it matches something else? very difficult questions of that sort. surveillance -- we had a case either last year were the year before with gps. police wanted to follow somebody they thought was a drug dealer. and you could use an unmarked car and all of that. no, just slap a gps on it and at
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the end of the month they have an itinerary. it turns out the guy was going into a particular perata that was active in drug use. is that search and seizure? the new technology is just amazing. someone can look and read the questions you are asking. will they be a good test to see how precious the framers were if what they set up in the constitution can, as it has for more than 200 years, be used in dealing with these new challenges? >> how does the judicial philosophy that you apply to deal with these changes that could not have been anticipated? >> i do not mean to be flip, but the answer is no.
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i said this at my confirmation hearings. i do not have an overarching judicial philosophy. maybe at the end of my time on the court, somebody will look back and say, this was his philosophy. i mean, i have certain ideas about how you should approach a particular problem. obviously, you begin with the text of the constitution. i believe in what a lot of the founding dollars were trying to accomplish with this. they had a reason for objecting to unreasonable searches and seizures. and you can about that as an interpretation of the fourth amendment, but it is not a categorical view of what you can and cannot look at. i think that will be the big challenge, how the constitution is applied to the new technology. i say that, but it just might
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be my own age having difficulty dealing with the technology. a lot of technological developments must have been seen as challenging to members of the court 100 years ago, whether it is radio or the automobile. it changes the whole way that they had applied notions of liability with respect to travel and things like that. maybe it is just that the technology is outpacing new rather than the constitution. >> the law is actually less difficult when dealing with laws and then with raising your children? >> i have my children help me with programming the parental controls with the television. [laughter] they assured me that it was all set up. [laughter]
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>> one nas question. maybe it had a brief answer, and maybe it does not. after your time on the court, how would you like others to remember your leadership of the court and what it represented? >> i don't think it is terribly fruitful to think about that. but i do not want anyone to think anything more less them that i was a good judge. if people can comfortably say i was a good judge, then i will feel it was a life well spent. >> mr. chief justice, it was an
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extraordinary afternoon. i appreciate your reference to our baseball team. and i know you like baseball and have made some analogies that people have remembered. we have a great baseball coach, not going to invite you to be our baseball coach. but if you like to come back as an umpire, or to see a game, we do welcome you. i did have a hat for you, but i will have to find it later and give it to you. d
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